Halloween Haunts 2001

This
year’s Halloween offerings for those keen to purchase a modern
timed, or limited edition collectable, range from the usual beanies
through to Swatch Watches.

Light Up Pumpkin Pooh Disney Beanie pictured right.

Every
year, Disney releases its Winnie the Pooh themed mini bean bags
for the Halloween season. These usually sell out instantly, but
this year both Light Up Pumpkin Pooh at £7.99, and Witch
Eeyore with broom at £6.99, can still be found at Disney
Stores in considerable quantities. This is not necessarily due
to a lack of demand, but probably has more to do with the fact
that the pair were released on September 11.

Witch Eeyore with broom Disney Beanie pictured above left.

This view is reinforced by the fact that two other Halloween Disney
mini bean bags, Tigger Wizard and Devil Pooh both at £6.99,
came out the week before the terrorist attacks on America and
are now impossible to find in Disney Stores. For those who’ve
missed all four, late runners have a chance of picking up Winnie’s
Brew at £6.99 which is a pumpkin shaped bag with a Winnie
the Pooh soft toy inside. The toy ejects ‘jack-in-the-box’ style,
but as this is not actually filled with beans fails to meet the
stringent criteria for most bean bag toy collectors.

The
originator of the beanie craze, Ty Warner, continues apace with
an ever expanding range of bean-filled toys. Although not as dominant
a collectable in the market as they were two years ago, the Ty
Beanie Babies, remain popular. This year there are four Halloween-themed
Beanie Babies, more than any previous year. Creepers the Skeleton
follows on from Spooky the Ghost and Sheets the Ghost.

Ty’s Creepers the Skeleton pictured above left.

Pumkin
the original Halloween Ty Beanie Baby from 1998 commands around
£15-£20 on the collectors market against a £4.99
original retail price. Fraidy the Cat and Scary the Witch are
easily found in retail shops having been released earlier this
year, but Haunt the Bear, with a pumpkin on its chest and a tag
in its ear that reads "My favourite time is Halloween",
is more difficult to track down with some retailers charging £10
for this one.

Ty’s Fraidy the Cat pictured right.

Those
in the Halloween spirit have their last chance today to pick up
the Harmony Kingdom annual Halloween offering which is only available
at special Harmony Kingdom events which have been taking place
around the country all weekend. Just 750 Bela the Vampire and
Fang the Bat resin boxes are available in the UK.

Bela is pictured left.


The British version of these collectable boxes features an ivy
sprig carved inside. The 5,001 that have been released in the
States have an oakleaf carved inside. American collectors of Harmony
Kingdom are sure to be quickly seeking the rarer British version
through the various internet auctions once the weekend is over.

Fang is pictured right.

This being the case, it’s highly likely that Bela and Fang will
sell for more than this weekends £42.50 retail price. Furthermore,
given that each pair is shrink-wrapped, many collectors will be
buying up examples in the hope of stumbling across the pair that
have been covered in semi-precious gemstones. Last year’s Gobblefest
offering for Halloween included a similar one-off jewel-encrusted
example which has still not been found.

Naturally
to mark the Witching Hour, Swatch has a new Halloween watch out.
This year’s is entitled Mummia and comes in special X-ray packaging
whilst the Swatch itself glows in the dark. Some examples of 2000’s
Halloween Swatches Chauve Souris and Geisterstund are still loitering
in Swatch stores, but Batsknight from 1999 is still difficult
to track down.

Swatch Mummia pictured left.

As
always it’s the smallest limited editions and the least publicised
pieces that quickly take off on the secondary market. Wade Ceramics
Ltd in Stoke on Trent, produced a limited edition of 100 figurines
of a teddy dressed as a Devil for its Collectors Event in the
city on October 14. The ceramic piece, called Lil’ Devil, cost
£45 on the day and sold out immediately. By October 15,
the second day of the event, one had already traded hands for
£75.

Wade Lil’ Devil pictured right.

Anyone
shopping for Halloween will have difficulty avoiding the one character
that seems to be making Halloween his own – Harry Potter. Enesco,
the American giftware company, was first off the production line
with all sorts of Harry Potter resin figures, clocks and bookends
but very few of these caught collectors imaginations. Many are
waiting for the release of the film on November 16 to see whether
the Warner Bros marketing magic really does have collectors, rather
than children, spellbound.

Royal Doulton Harry Potter figure – Wizard-in-Training pictured
left.

Nearly a year since the licencing rights were first tied up,
Royal Doulton has finally managed to get its first batch of ceramic
Harry Potter figurines out into the shops. Seven figures are available
costing £30-£35, plus two limited edition tableaux.
The Royal Doulton backstamp alone makes the figurine ranges tipped
to become the most collectable of the Harry Potter offerings so
far produced. The limited edition pieces include ‘Harry’s 11th
Birthday’ which is a limited edition of 5,000 costing £120
and ‘The Friendship Begins’ which is the same edition size but
cheaper at £75. The times when such limited edition pieces
would sell out instantly have long gone, but the seven unlimited
figures may well be worth purchasing as there’s every chance some
will be quickly retired to make way for more figurines to add
into the collection. In today’s modern collectables market, a
short production run can make a piece more collectable than a
large limited edition size.

Certainly,
Royal Doulton’s Professor Albus Dumbledore figurine at £35
is considerably more affordable than the original Thomas Taylor
pencil and watercolour drawing of the character. This artwork
featured in the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the
Philosopher’s Stone, and was sold at Sotheby’s in July this year
for £3,000.

Royal Doulton Harry Potter figure -Headmaster Albus Dumbledore
pictured right.

Unlike America, Britain has few specialist collectors seeking
purely Halloween items. Here collectors tend to specialise in
a particular era or concentrate on the products from one manufacture.
This may coincidentally cover certain pieces that have a Halloween
theme. A stunning Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Ginger jar sold at
Christie’s 20TH Century British Decorative Arts sale on June 28
for £8,225 against a £5,000-£7,000 estimate.
The piece no doubt went to a dealer or collector who specialised
in Wedgwood and other lustre wares rather than being snapped up
at such a price because it featured Halloween-style pixies and
goblins.

The Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre ranges were designed originally
at the turn of the last century by Daisy Makeig Jones, and have
a following of collectors. Designs include ‘Candlemas’ – Christie’s
sold a pair of vases in this haunting pattern last year for £9,775,
‘Fairy Slide and the Birds Nest Robbers’ – Christie’s realised
£17,250 for a pot and cover in this pattern last year and
‘Bubbles’ which features ghost like figures.

At the same time Wedgwood was producing this range, other Stoke
on Trent potteries followed suite. Crown Devon produced its own
Fairyland lustre ranges, as did Royal Winton and arguably second
in the collectability stakes after Wedgwood, Carlton Ware. In
August 1999, two rare Carlton Ware Fairy pattern pieces were offered
at Christie’s in South Kensington. The goblet vase made £5,000
and a orange lustre vase with some gilt rubbing made £3,500.
Last year Great Western Auctions in Glasgow sold a 9 inch vase
in the same pattern for £4,600.

Little can yet beat the spectre raised at auction in February
last year when a
tiny valuables cabinet, made in 1679, went up for sale at Christie’s
in New York. The piece had been made for a couple who stood as
accusers in the notorious witchcraft trials of 1692 in Salem.
Such was the interest that the item finally sold for £1,375,000
and set a new record for Pilgrim Century furniture beating the
previous record set in 1986, which was £330,000 paid for
a Pilgrim Century chair. Although the cabinet sold to a dealer
it has since been purchased by The Peabody Essex Museum of Salem
where it is on display.